Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Using the SSRD360 starting pitcher analyzer developed at the Sports Network, here are the six best and worst starters in the major leagues.
The SSRD360 measures a starter's performance and fantasy value based on four factors - wins, ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts.
Justin Verlander, Detroit (SSRD360 - 2.608) - He was the 11th pitcher taken back in March (ADP 60), but has been better than any of the guys selected ahead of him. The Tigers' ace leads the league in starts, innings pitched, strikeouts and WHIP 0.874. He's yielded more than three runs just one time in those 20 starts, gone at least seven innings in 15 starts, has a 12-4 and electric stuff.
Jered Weaver, Anaheim (SSRD360 - 2.693) - Weaver was unhittable in the month of April (ERA 0.99, WHIP 0.788), lost four in a row during a bad streak in May and now has won five in a row in during a solid June and July. All told he is 11-4 with an ERA of 1.86 and a WHIP of 1.166. Pretty good for a seventh-round draft choice.
Tommy Hanson, Atlanta (SSRD360 - 2.766) - Hanson exploded on the scene in 2009, but disappointed fantasy owners last season with a mediocre 10-11 record. He's returned on his rookie form and then some, posting a 10-4 record with an ERA of 2.44 and a WHIP of 1.016. Barring injury, he should be able to pitch like this for the next five years, so trading him in a keeper league is not recommended.
Cole Hamels, Philadelphia (SSRD360 - 2.793) - This is the confident Hamels we saw in the 2008 postseason who has added a curveball to his fastball and amazing changeup. He's 11-4 with a career-best 2.32 ERA and 0.932 WHIP. Hamels might be the second-best pitcher on the Phillies staff, but in a keeper league he might be more valuable because he's just 27-years-old.
Roy Halladay, Philadelphia (SSRD360 - 2.853) - If I needed one game to win the pennant or World Series, I'd want Halladay on the mound. When he has his best stuff he's unhittable, but more importantly, when he doesn't have his "A-game" he is so mentally tough that he still gets the job done. He's made 19 starts this season, completing six of them and going into the seventh inning in all but his Opening Day start. He's 11-3 with an ERA of 2.45, a WHIP of 1.019 and 138 strikeouts in 143.1 innings. Halladay was the first pitcher off the board (ADP 15) and he's done nothing to make you regret the choice.
Josh Beckett, Boston (SSRD360 - 2.979) - Of the six pitchers on the Who's Hot list, Beckett is the biggest surprise. It's not that we didn't know he was talented, it's that he was coming off an injury-filled 2010 campaign which saw him make just 21 starts and go 6-6 with an ugly 5.78 ERA and equally bad 1.535 WHIP. You should be concerned with his current knee problem which forced him out of the All-Star game and a trade might be the safest strategy.
Danny Duffy, Kansas City (SSRD360 - 7.094) - One win in 10 starts, an ERA of 4.85 and an ugly 1.65 WHIP should be enough to keep Duffy off your fantasy radar screen. The team will continue to let him pitch, he's expected to start the sixth game after the break, but you shouldn't have him in your lineup or on your roster.
Brandon McCarthy, Oakland (SSRD360 - 7.157) - McCarthy, like Duffy has just one win in double-digit starts (11), but unlike the Kansas City lefthander, McCarthy has pitched better than his record. Yes, he's 1-5, but his ERA is a respectable 3.66 and his WHIP is 1.218. He is not a strikeout pitcher which further drops his value and shouldn't be in your lineup at this time.
Randy Wells, Chicago Cubs (SSRD360 - 7.370) - After a 12-win season in 2009, Wells' statistics have headed south in each proceeding season. So far this year he's posted a 1-3 record with an ERA of 6.80 and a WHIP of 1.727 in nine starts. Leave him on the free agent list for someone else to pickup.
Vin Mazzaro, Kansas City (SSRD360 - 7.529) - An ERA of 9.25 and a WHIP of 2.14 in five appearances earned Mazzaro a ticket to AAA Omaha. If anything, you should consider his replacement in the Royals' rotation - Bruce Chen (5-2, ERA 3.26).
Kyle Davies, Kansas City (SSRD360 - 8.578) - Davies has seven losses in his last seven starts, an ERA of 7.74 and a WHIP of 1.92. Enough said.
Phil Coke, Detroit (SSRD360 - 8.976) - Coke's 1-8 record has forced manager Jim Leyland to take him out of the starting rotation. As a middle relief guy, he has no fantasy value.